Leithart’s Challenge Round #8: The Bible

See the original post to see what this is about.

Leithart says that the Bible speaks not only of spiritual things, but also hair, blood, sweat, entrails, menstruation, and genital emissions. Theologians on the other hand (except for perhaps Augustine) rarely make any mention of these. It’s a blanket statement intended to shock, of course, but is it true nonetheless? Are theologians from another planet? Let’s find out…

In this round: The Canon of Scripture

According to the multi-version concordance on BibleTab.com, these words occur X number of times in the Bible:

  • hair – 135
  • sweat – 3
  • entrails – 20
  • menstruation – 16
  • genital emissions -11

All right, the whole basis of this challenge is we need something to compare the language of theologians to. The bible is the standard.

Much of the Bible is a narrative. In it, there are a surprising number of people with hair worth mentioning: Eusa, Sampson, David’s men who had their beards cut off, John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene, etc.

The word is also used abstractly quite a bit:

Neither shall you swear by your head, for you can’t make one hair white or black.

Matthew 5:36

I was a little bit bummed that the theologians I studied mentioned sweat so rarely. However, it turns out the Bible almost never mentions it either. This oft-quoted passage is one of the few exceptions:

By the sweat of your face will you eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Genesis 3:19

Entrails show up a fair amount. For example, in this story illustrating why it was generally a bad idea to lie to the apostles:

Now this man obtained a field with the reward for his wickedness, and falling headlong, his body burst open, and all his intestines gushed out.

Acts 1:18

Menstraution is usually mention in the OT Law, but occasionally is used to describle how valuable idols are:

Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence.

Isaiah 30:22

Speaking of the law, in an OT fight, hitting below the belt was taken very seriously:

“If two men, a man and his countryman, are struggling together, and the wife of one comes near to deliver her husband from the hand of the one who is striking him, and puts out her hand and seizes his genitals, then you shall cut off her hand; you shall not show pity.

Deuteronomy 25:11-12

Next, finally, the conclusion…